The Spice range fits between the Rebel waveboards and the XTC, Stoke and Chilli freeride and freestyle boards and appears to be unchanged fromthe shape thatwe tested last year. On the website the 86 claims 100% wave, 20% freestyle, 10% freeride and 10% slalom, but we feel that this actually heavily over-emphasises the wave performance at the expense of its perfectly useful freeride / slalom attributes.
On the Water:
The Spice is a solid performer in every sense. It can turn its hand to pretty much anything, and is quite heavy both in pounds and ounces and feel. It supports large sails well and gets going averagely early, acceleration is progressive rather than sparkling and when on the plane it feels stable and dependable rather than lively. It gets upwind very easily and rides the chop well, always smooth and composed. It’s also easy to lock down and blast, with more than one sailor commenting on how it seemed to like being driven from an outboard position. It is predictable and forgiving to gybe, generally feeling sedate and safe in its manouevring. However, while feeling less willing to jump than most of the other more wave-orientated boards here, it’s still capable of decent airtime and riding.
Fittings: The deck is simple and the straps very good. The fin feels fairly small and worked well.
Popularity: While most felt it offered sound freeride-biased performance it didn’t get very near the top of any preference lists.
The Spice is a decent all-rounder that blasts comfortably and fast, can jump and ride fairly well and could turn its hand to a little freestyle too. For the more advanced sailors it lacks a bit of sparkle compared to the other boards on test here – it is better suited to those progressing to small boards for the first time for whom its ease, dependability and good control will be more valuable assets. It enjoys a good wind range, carrying up to 6.5m and happy with small sails as well.